Fear of Numbers

Mathematicians are quick to point out that everything in life can be reduced to numbers. Our DNA, the strands of hairs on our head, vital organs, white blood cells – everything has a number attached to it. Those who fear numbers are said to have Numerophobia.

This particular fear find the numerophobe becoming overwhelmed by the numbers around them. This could be telephone numbers, credit card numbers, pin numbers, numbers associated with a coded panel for entrance to a location or to set a security system. There might also be fear associated with how much time it takes to do certain normal tasks or how many of a certain item them may have in their home. As much as they fear numbers they will often be obsessed by numbers and count items, pay attention to how long something takes to do or memorize how much an item costs with tax.

What Causes Numerophobia?

Fears develop in peculiar ways. For instance one scenario that may cause numerophobia could be that as a child you, for no particular reason began counting how many sections of sidewalk it took in order to get from your home to school. It got to the point where you could predict within ten paces how many steps it would take every day. It was fun until you couldn’t stop counting. It might even be that you were stopped from counting by a traumatic incident (accident, bully or upset parent). From that moment you may have moved from enjoying the counting to fearing the numbers that resulted in trouble. From that point on numbers may have been equated in your mind as something that caused problems.

Another scenario could be tied to debt where the total number of dollars owed to a creditor was more than you ever believed you could pay. The obsession with trying to raise enough money could also lead to a fear of numbers.

Symptoms of Numerophobia

Thos who fear numbers might break out into a sweat when dealing with numbers. Interestingly many who have this fear will still interact with numbers in an almost obsessive/compulsive way, but they will express high anxiety every moment they do so.

Other symptoms include…

  • Air hunger
  • Elevated or irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Panic
  • Feeling as though you are losing your mind
  • An urge to flee

Living with this fear can be difficult because you may want to stop counting because of your fear, but in many instances the counting is as strong a driving force as the fear of numbers creating a highly debilitating catch 22.

How to Overcome Numerophobia

Overcoming this fear may require help on two different fronts. You may need help identifying the original fear associated with numerophobia, but you will also need to deal with affiliated obsessive/compulsive tendencies. This is important because the two are in fact separate issues and should be dealt with in tandem to create the best opportunity for recovery. This may require therapy and potential prescription drug therapy to calm both tendencies while recovery moves forward.

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